My friend, David Ross, is the minister of music at the First Baptist Church in Blytheville, Arkansas. They put on a very nice Christmas musical program this time of year. Their church is blessed with many talented musicians and they present a variety of styles, from Bluegrass gospel to the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s "Messiah" (backed up by their terrific organist, Dennis Hay).
Several years ago, he wanted an instrumental ensemble and contacted our mutual friend, Tom Ryan, Kennett’s director of bands. The above fantasy photograph was our Christmas card that year. My fantasy was the Mobley family band. Yes, we all play, and there we are together in his church, but only three of us were playing in the program. After the event, my son Tom picked up Mr.Ryan’s tuba and robe for our Christmas card picture (Tom really does play the tuba, just not in this show).
Since then, Mr. Ryan and I have gone back several times to participate. Today I played tuba and baritone, while Mr. Ryan played trombone and tympani. For "Go Tell It On The Mountain", we were both in mariachi mode, playing claves and shakers.
I love music, and I love Christmas. It was a great way to spend a few hours with old friends.